Macron: No 'legitimate successor' to Assad

French President says France no longer considers Assad's departure a precondition to resolving civil war.

Ben Ariel,

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron
Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that he saw no legitimate successor to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, adding that France no longer considered his departure a precondition to resolving the six-year conflict.

"The new perspective that I have had on this subject is that I have not stated that Bashar Al-Assad's departure is a precondition for everything because nobody has shown me a legitimate successor," Macron said, according to comments quoted by Reuters.

He said Assad was an enemy of the Syrian people, but not of France and that Paris's priority was a total commitment to fighting terrorist groups and ensuring the country did not become a failed state.

The comments mark a continuing shift in France's stance regarding Assad. France has in the past insisted that Assad step down, but that stance appeared to change in late 2015, when then-Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that Assad's departure is no longer necessary before any political transition in the war-torn country.

Macron said last month that it was essential to talk with all actors in the Syria conflict, including representatives of Assad.

At the same time, the French President has also warned that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is a red line for France and would result in reprisals.




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